Sunday, 3 July 2011

Olympic Day Run Race

On the 24th June I helped out at Bath University with the Olympic day run.
The University of Bath hosted a sporting celebration on behalf of the British Olympic Foundation to celebrate International Olympic Day.
Building on the International Olympic Committee’s three pillars of Move, Learn and Discover, the day consisted of different secondary school students taking part in the run and a sports festival to discover new skills, a junior academy for students to learn and debate Olympic themes and an art display. More than 400 young people attended the event at the Sports Training Village. I started off the race with a few words to encourage and inspire the young athletes.

Top Gear

Are you a fan of Top Gear? (I am!) If you haven’t already seen it, you need to get onto i-player and see the first of the new series that started last week (26th June), in which I was featured. I went out to Lillehammer to race the new Mini rally car down the track on my sled. James May was in the rally car and I was on the skeleton track, it was great fun although hard work as we filmed for two nights solid 6pm -7am! I was shattered by the end! I was in the studio last week for the last bit of filming and for a little chat with Jeremy Clarkson! Well I didn’t get to say too much in the end, but great great fun, thanks guys!

Wimbledon 2011

I was lucky to be invited to Wimbledon on the middle Sports Saturday, I received an invitation last year and so was thrilled when I received another this year. It really is a grand day out, an early start to get dressed up (making sure my dress covered my dodgy knee!) and ready with my good friend Vicky, who had stayed over in Bath to join me for the occasion. We got to Wimbledon in good time and were met at the gates by lots of sports fans wanting autographs; they would have got a good number, as I was joining many sporting greats, such as Jonathon Edwards, Mark Foster, Sir Steve Redgrave and Martina Navratilova. It’s always lovely to be standing next to fellow athletes whom you admire so much.
Also invited to the Royal Box were many service men and women from the Armed Forces and it was particularly memorable how they received a long ovation from the crowd in honour of them all. The tennis was superb: I was lucky to have Roger Federer and Djokovic to watch - a first for me - and now today Djokovic has gone on to win Wimbledon 2011. Well done to him!
I did start thinking, throughout the matches that day, how tennis players move to that next level of competition. As an athlete who has now reached the highest level of my sport, I know the dedication and hard work that goes into reaching that level. One of which is through technology, research and development. I admit I know nothing about tennis as a sport, apart from simply the scoring! But my brain was whirring with how they must improve to the next step. When I saw Federer suddenly change his racket half-way through his match, I couldn’t help but think, “Does he know exactly how many times he can hit the ball before the tension in his racket changes and starts to have an effect on his power?” and “I wonder if tennis players work with cricketers; is there a cross-over with putting spin on the ball and how to hit it?” Maybe they already do all of this…but it made me think!